The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that several Pakistani citizens currently incarcerated in Damman Prison in Saudi Arabia face death by beheading for allegedly trafficking drugs into Saudi Arabia.
The Pakistanis in question, all hailing from poor families, were in fact forced to carry the drugs.
In some cases the couriers have been directly forced into such trafficking after being abducted and in others family members have been held hostage for coercion to undertake the illegal act. The real drug traffickers, the master-minds, are well-known in Pakistan, and are associated with political parties, and allegedly have a nexus with the Saudi authorities, particularly in Dammam city itself.
The drug lords operate openly in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkha.
It is claimed that real purpose of awarding death sentences to the poor Pakistanis is to eliminate the evidence of nexus between drug racketeers and Saudi authorities.
The Pakistan embassy and its consulates in Saudi Arabia have refused to help their own citizens. This is despite the detainees having communicated with Pakistani officials and provided the names of real drug racketeers that Pakistani authorities may wish to apprehend. The response received from the Pakistani embassy by the poor men facing death sentences is simply that the embassy cannot fight against their fate.
There are dozens of Pakistani prisoners in different Saudi Arabian prisons at present, incarcerated on charges of drug trafficking. Most face sentences ranging from 10 to 20 years. In the absence of fair trials in the Saudi monarchy, the prisoners were all denied legal help, and it is and has been difficult for them to get legal remedy.
Please sign the urgent appeal for the release of innocent Pakistani citizens from the agony of the axe that dangles over them on death row.
What follows are the individual cases of victims of drug trafficking, of men forced to carry the white powder or capsules to Saudi Arabia. The illegal drug business in Pakistan has its operations centered in, Mardan and Sherpao, districts of Khyber Pakhtunkha province, and in Sargodha, located in the Punjab province. Drug racketeers in these 3 cities have the monopoly of sending couriers to Damman through the Islamabad airport where authorities do not conduct body searches of the couriers and allow them to side-step scanning machines.
The terrible aspect of this drug trafficking to Saudi Arabia is that the poorest of the poor are ensnared by the powerful drug groups and forced to ingest the small bags of capsules containing drugs. In some cases these poor men are abducted and directly forced to become drug mules and in others relatives are held hostage until the job is completed and the drugs transported through Dammam airport. The drug racketeers, especially their leaders, are affiliated with ruling political parties like PML-N, Tehreek-e-Insaf (TIP) and Qaumi Watan Party (QWP). However, there is no evidence that the political parties are themselves running such groups.
Wajid Ali, son of Zar Nosh, from Jalal Mardan district, was beheaded on June 11, 2013 at Dammam, in an open space. He was forced to carry drugs by a gang run allegedly by a member of provincial assembly, Imran Khan Mohmand, who was recently died in a June 18 bomb blast.
Jubilation at Dammam Jail: On the death of Imran Khan Mohmand, member of Provincial Assembly (MPA) in a suicide bomb blast on June 18, 2013, in Sher Gargh, Mardan, district Khyber Pakhtunkha, there was jubilation in Dammam jail, Saudi Arabia. Pakistani prisoners offered special prayers to thank Allah for administering exemplary punishment and saving many other poor people being forced by his group to carry drugs. The MPA belonged to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, the political party headed by Imran Khan, the former Pakistani cricketer. The victims believe that it is one of the relatives of those beheaded that has likely taken revenge by becoming suicide bomber.
Mr. Muhammad Younis, son of Muhammad Shoaib, is presently 19 years old. When he arrived at Dammam airport he was 17. He is facing death sentence by beheading and his final appeal rests with Saudi ministry of law for the past two years. His sentence can be executed at any time. Resident of tehseel Katling, district Mardan, Khyber Pakhtunkha, Younis surrendered himself before the Dammam custom authorities at Dammam airport, Saudi Arabia, on May 2, 2011 after arriving there on an employment visa. He was very sick when he arrived at the airport. His penis was dripping blood, as it was severely injured during the cutting of stone tiles in Pakistan. As he arrived at Dammam airport, he asked security personnel where he was? He was told that he was at Dammam. The security personnel thought he was a mad person and they handed him over to airport security, where he divulged that some persons boarded him on the flight but did not tell him where he would be arriving. Younis told the security persons that those that put him onto the flight gave him white powder, saying the medicine is for man power for local Arabs who purchase such medicines at a high price. He also told authorities that someone will receive him outside the airport and he has to hand over the medicine to him. When authorities saw that the powder is nothing but heroine, they took Younis into custody. Younis requested them to also catch the person waiting outside the airport but Dammam authorities refused to apprehend the receiver.
Younis was shifted to Alqateef Awamia Damam Jail in the second week of May 2011. Since then he has been lying in Alqateef Awamia Jail with many other young persons from Pakistan arrested on charges of bringing heroin (diacetylmorphine or morphine diacetate) to Saudi Arabia. In his statement during his trial, Younis insisted on his innocence many times and informed the Islamic court that drug peddlers are living in Saudi Arabia and can be caught. He also told the court the names of the persons in Pakistan and who forced him to go to Saudi Arabia.
Younis was trapped by the drug mafia operating in Khyber Pakhtunkha (KPK) province when he was working in another city, Noshera. The alleged gang leader of the drug group is Abdul Ghani Khan, who runs three car show rooms in Peshawar, the capital of the KPK province. His henchmen Pir Mukkaram Khan and Raza Khan contacted the victim through a local contractor ‘Babu’ and offered to arrange his employment in SA with all expenses borne by the group. They said even his age can be increased so that he can avail a national identity card, made for persons above 18 years. The group put a date of birth of January 1, 1987 on Younis’ identity card, which is the date of birth of his eldest brother,10 years older than him.
This drug group is based in Zim district Sherpao of KPK and it is alleged that it works for a political party, the ‘Qaumi Watan Party (QWP) of Mr. Aftab Sherpao, former interior minister during the military government of General Musharraf. QWP is a coalition partner of the KPK government. The group is believed to be run by a maternal nephew of Aftab Sherpao, but no one knows his name.
When Younis was sent to Saudi Arabia he was seriously injured. His penis was wounded by a stone cutter ten days before the departure. All his official documents, including passport, were created by the group members, Pir Mukkaram Khan and Raza Khan, who are also the resident of district Sherpao, but who have now shifted to Dammam and established their work over there. These members took Younis from his house saying that he must be admitted to the hospital otherwise he would die. He was taken to Sherpao district where he was introduced to gang leader Abdul Ghani. The very next day, in his semi-conscious condition, he was boarded in a flight to Saudi Arabia. His family say that they have contacted authorities in Dammam, the officials of Pakistani Embassy, the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, officials in the Ministry of Overseas amongst others, but that no one has responded to save the life of Mohammad Younis. Officials at Pakistani Consulate at Dammam told them they cannot help and cannot fight against the fate of people.
Ghulam Jaffer, son of Manik Ali, 38 years of age, retired Lance Corporal from the Pakistan Army, 11 Sindh unit, with ID number 3494701,resident of Tehseel Jhang, district Sargodha, Punjab,was sentence to death by beheading for carrying capsules of white powder into Saudi Arabia. He was trapped by a notorious drug baron of Sargodha, Punjab province, who has sent many sentenced in Dammam, such as Muhammad Sanaullah who also faces the death sentence.
In Sargodha district of Punjab, the drug racket is run by notorious racketeer, Ali Hassan, who also works for ruling party, the PML-N. He lives in Jalalpur Saydan, Joharabad, Khushab, near the graveyard. His two assistants, Zeb Khan and Qadir Bukhsh, operate in the neighbouring districts and have very close association with the police. Zeb Khan lives in Shah Latker, Sargodha, whereas Qadir Bukhsh lives in Joharabad. These people hire shopkeepers to contact people who are jobless and poor. The group works under the patronage of Nawab Ali Khan Pathan, who runs a travelling agency in Sher Gargh, Mardan, KPK province. And, it has been working under the umbrella of the deceased Imran Mohmand and the Sherpao group in Sherpao district.
Ghulam Jaffer retired from army in 2011 and was looking for stable job, as he has three children. His paternal cousin, Muneer Hussain Akhtar, son of Allah Bukhsh, owner of a grocery store at Thana Massan, mozoo Kot Khan, tehseel Jhang, with phone number 92-344 8612632, is a front man in Jhang district. Akhtar approached Ghulam Jaffer and offered to provide him an employment visa for Saudi Arabia, asking for 250,000 rupees for documents and travelling expenses. Ghulam Jaffer, with difficulty, arranged 100,000 rupees, after taking loans from his friends and relatives, promising that he would return the same after getting job in Saudi Arabia.
Jaffer was taken to the Islamabad airport for Saudi Arabia bound flight. His cousin brother was with him. At the airport he was told that the flight had been delayed. He was then taken to one Karachi hotel in Rawalpindi city, adjacent to Islamabad. In the hotel one man with the name of Umer Khan met Jaffer in front of his cousin Akhtar and told Jaffer that he was sold by Akhtar for rupees half a million. They were served with tea and after that Jaffer became unconscious. They were taken to Mardan, KPK province, and detained there for three days. His brother was separated from Jaffer and detained as a hostage. Jaffer was told that if he does not inhale the capsules his brother would be killed.
On December 31, 2012, he was boarded onto a Saudi Arabia bound flight. Throughout the flight he felt severe pain in his stomach. As he reached Damamm airport he straight away contacted the authorities there and informed them that he was forced to carry capsules and that somebody is waiting outside the airport for the same. The airport authorities told him to surrender the capsules and that he would be released. But they arrested him and the case was taken to court, where there is no question of fair trial. He was sentenced to death by beheading on November 15, 2012.
Mohammad Sanaullah, son of Mohammad Ameer, age 24 years, resident of Chak Chohattar Shumali, Jhang road, Sargodha, Punjab province, has also been sentenced to death by beheading. The background of the case of Sanaullah is that he is an orphan. His mother died soon after his birth, and when he was two years old, his father was swept away in the floods of 1992 and since then his whereabouts are unknown. A landless peasant took care of him after finding him in flood water. At the age of 20, he was married by the daughter of the landless peasant. It was difficult for the family to survive. He and his father-in-law were contacted by one person, Qadir Buksh, from Jalal Pur Sayydan, Khushab, Punjab, who arrived with the offer of a good job in Saudi Arabia. All arrangements of document were to be paid by Buksh, and he was told as earned there he could return the money. In the first week of January 2012 Sanaullah was taken to Islamabad from Sargodha, which is five hours by car.
On reaching Islamabad airport the victim was told that the flight has been delayed and will leave to Saudi Arabia the following day. The victim and his father-in-law were then taken to Shergarh, Mardan, KPK province, where both of them were handed over to Haji Abdul Sattar who locked them in a small room. Next day, the victim and his father-in-law were told that their release would only be possible if the victim inhales capsules of heroine. If Sanaullah were to refuse, his father-in-law (who was for him more than father) would be killed and be declare as suicide bomber is what they were told. After three days, finding no option, and to save his father-in-law, Sanaullah agreed to undertake the task. When he left his village, Sanaullah had left behind a new born child hardly one month old. With father-in-law kept as hostage, the victim was taken to the Islamabad airport and was boarded into a Saudi Arabia bound flight without any kind of check by airport authorities. One person even helped him in the passenger’s lounge.
On 13 January 2013, as he arrived in Dammam airport he himself went to security and surrendered himself and told them he was carrying capsules and that somebody is waiting outside for him. The authorities ignored his information and arrested him. In the month of January 2013 itself he was sentenced to death by beheading. The irony is that the victim also told to police and court about the incident at the airport and the airport authorities did not arrest the receiver, and yet no action or inquiry has been conducted by the Arabian government or court.
Muhammad Ismail, 21 years old and a resident of Pakhtun Kha province, was a guard at Sadam Children Academy, village Rustam, district Mardan, with a meager salary. His father is dead and mother is afflicted with Hepatitus. He is the only son and was the only bread earner for his mother and three sisters. He was contacted by Haji Abdul Sattar, an agent of Imran Mahmond, MPA, and told that his employment in Saudi Arabia could be arranged. Haji Abdul Sattar is the front man of Imran Mahmond, who has since died in a bomb blast. All the travel documents of Muhammad Ismail were made by the gang. When he was reluctant to go to Saudi Arabia he was abducted and threatened. He was warned that his mother would be abducted. He was forced to inhale 73 capsules of drugs. As he arrived at Dammam airport, he informed the authorities about the capsules he was carrying and the authorities immediately check him through the scanning machine and found the capsules inside. He was arrested and sentenced to death by beheading. He is in death row awaiting beheading. The mother of the victim has written to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on December 31, 2012. The PM house has only acknowledged the receipt of the letter, but has not taken any action.
Mehmood Masih, son of Iqbal Masih (40), Christian by faith, resident of Sargodha district, Punjab province has also been sentenced to death by beheading in Saudi Arabia. His brother and nephew were made hostages in Mardan, KPK province, and he was forced to inhale capsules of drugs on the threat that his brother and nephew would be killed.
Masih was running a video center in Joharabad, Sargodha district. One day he was contacted by Munawar a shopkeeper of Joharabad, Dera, who was working for the gang of Ali Hasan, the notorious drug lord who has used many persons for drug smuggling to Saudi Arabia. This group has connections with Nawab Ali Khan Pathan, who runs a travelling agency in Sher Gargh, Mardan-KPK province. Masih gave Pak Rupees 250,000 for a Saudi Arabian employment visa to Munawar, who, after some days brought a visa and asked Masih to proceed to Islamabad for his flight. Masih went to Islamabad along with his brother and 11 year old nephew. Munawar also went along to leave Masih at the Islamabad airport.
When they reached Islamabad, the same old story was told to them that the flight is very late and will only take-off the day after tomorrow. All of them were then taken to Mardan, KPK, and were locked in separate places. Here Masih met Sardar Ali Pathan and Iftekhar Pathan, who made threats that they had links with the deceased Imran Mehmond, the former MPA killed in a bomb blast in the month of June, 2013. Masih was forced to inhale capsules. He was told that his brother and nephew are in an isolated place, and, if he does not follow instructions, both hostages would be killed. He ingested 93 capsules in all and boarded on the flight to Qatar from where he has to take flight for SA. During the journey he felt nauseous and vomited. Some of the ingested packets ruptured; some capsules came out during egestion. As he reached Qatar airport a person came and told him that his brother and nephew have been released, and that he can talk to them, so he should not believe that in such business no false promises are made. With the next flight, he reached Dammam airport, where his condition was very precarious. He went directly to airport authorities and told them he was carrying capsules. He narrated the story and told them someone would be waiting at the airport. But, the authorities simply asked him to hand over all the capsules and that he would be released. However, he was arrested and then sentenced to death by beheading.
Mohammad Rehman, 36, son of Mohammad Asghar, resident of Kurram agency, bordering Afghanistan, was also sentenced to death by beheading for carrying tablets of narcotics into Saudi Arabia. He is waiting on death row for the past four years. Twice was his house burned, once by Taliban when there was a military operation in 2005, and the second time in 2008, when there was fight between Shia and Sunni groups. He shifted to Mateen gate, Parachinar, the capital of Kurram agency, but had nothing for survival. The notorious drug peddlers, Haji Sabeel Khan and Hukam khan, of Peshawar, the capital of KPK, contacted him and offered a Saudi Arabian visa, which he happily accepted and promised that as and when he will earn there he will return back the money. When Rehman was leaving for Saudi Arabia the peddlers gave him a packet to deliver to one person who he was to meet outside the airport. When he reached Dammam, he was arrested at the airport.
Nadeem Shahzad, 23 years, son of Abdul Rehman, resident of Phular Awan,Sargodha, Punjab, has also been sentenced to death by beheading on the charge of carrying capsules of narcotics in his stomach. He was resident of Phular Awan, Sargodha, where he was approached by one Imam Bukhsh, who offered Shahzad a Saudi Arabian visa for Pak Rupees 600,000. He paid half the amount and promised to pay the rest after one year. Imam Bukhsh arranged a visa and took Shahzad to Islamabad to board a Saudia Arabia bound flight. Before reaching Islamabad, at Pir Wadhai, Rawalpindi, a black coloured double cabin jeep appeared alongside. Shahzad was asked to shift into the double cabin jeep. The jeep proceeded towards Mardan, KPK, where the visa was to be collected. When they reached Mardan, he was captured by six persons, and then the jeep proceeded to towards Malakand agency where he was detained. One of the six was a certain Safdar who appeared to be the gang leader, belonging to a political party, with good relations with ministers. Safdar threatened Shazad that if he did not ingest drug capsules he would be killed and that his other relatives would also not be spared. More than two persons held him and while Safdar made him take 80 capsules. Shazad landed at Dammam airport he complained to the authorities, who arrested him, and finally he was sentenced to death.
Mohammad Gul, 22 years, son of Rehmat Gul, resident of Kurrum agency, KPK, has been sentenced to death by beheading. He was a labourer and came in contact with drug smugglers through Haji Khan of Sherpao district. He was offered a job in Saudi Arabia by the men of Haji Khan. After arrangement of all documents, he was asked to go Peshawar, capital of KPK, where he was introduced to Haji Khan, who detained him and forced him to ingest bags of capsules. On arrival at Dammam airport in December 2011, he was arrested, and sentenced shortly thereafter.
The Saudi authorities have not initiated any inquiry into how young people are arriving with white powder and why these young men keep saying that recruiting agents have tricked them into this situation. These agents have licenses from the Saudi government for recruiting labourers from Pakistan. Saudi Arabian authorities have also not ever protested with Pakistan that when all the advanced machines of checking and scanning are installed at all the exit routes in Pakistan, not to mention sniffer dogs, then how is it so many Pakistanis are arriving every year laden with narcotics.
Apart from the cases mentioned above, there are many other young Pakistanis in Jedda and Riaz jails who are on death row. The Pakistani consulates over there refuse to help them. Back in their own country, the government and authorities also ignore them. The irony is that the prisoners have written and their family members have also detailed the names and operations of the gangs operating in Pakistan but neither the police nor the administration dare to take action against such groups. The young people from KPK province are caught in between the devil and the deep blue sea. On one side the Taliban abduct them and force them to become suicide bombers, If safe from the Taliban, it is the drug traffickers who abduct and force them to carry drugs to Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has the death penalty for a wide range of crimes including adultery, drug trafficking, and some religious crimes. It is one of only five countries where public executions are held, usually by beheading although some convicts have been stoned to death.More information can be accessed at: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2013/06/04/Convicted-killer-beheaded-in-Saudi-Arabia/UPI-45651370368406/#ixzz2WkOZnHzL.
There have been at least 47 executions in Saudi Arabia in 2013 thus far, representing an increase of 18 executions compared to the same time last year, and a rise of 29 compared to 2011. See more details at: http://www.amnesty.org/en/news/saudi-arabia-five-beheaded-and-crucified-amid-disturbing-rise-executions-2013-05-21. Graphic videos of some recent beheadings in Saudi Arabia may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pERTm67u6E4 and at: http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=e17_1340660132.
Very strong groups of drug racketeers are operating in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia openly with the connivance of authorities, particularly the customs authority. It is also understood that those young persons who admit or are caught carrying drugs in small amount to Saudi Arabia are immediately arrested, and, through Kangaroo Shariah courts, sentenced to death to eliminate the evidence of drug trafficking. The drug racketeers of both the countries, their flights, and the couriers who are bringing the drugs, are very much in the knowledge of the Saudi authorities. If a person, upon landing in Saudi Arabia tells the whole story of how he was forced there and how much drugs he is carrying or how many capsules are in his stomach, that person is quickly shifted to prison. Those who do not disclose however are generally not checked by airport authorities.
The important aspect of the drug business in relation to Pakistani peddlers is that Damam airport in Saudi Arabia is used for this racket. All those who are arrested and sentenced to death by means of beheading are kept in Alqateef Awamia Damam Jail. Every month at least one person is beheaded on the charges of Fasad Fil Arz (creating disorder on the earth of Allah). The Saudi authorities have never investigated kingpins in the drug smuggling, and in many cases they have actively avoided catching the main person standing outside the airport waiting to receive the drug package from the Pakistan courier. Investigations conducted by the AHRC reveal that, in at least two cases, the couriers, after reaching Damam airport, surrendered themselves to the authorities and told them that they are carrying the drugs sent by a group. The couriers also informed them that the receivers must be outside the airport, but the authorities totally ignored their appeal and sent them to airport lockup.